Shanxi Antique Elm Altar Table
Shanxi, circa 1820
This elegant, narrow table was produced in Shanxi province and dates back to the early nineteenth century. Originally it would have been used as an altar table, positioned against a wall with ancestor portraits placed above. Insence sticks and other offerings to the family's ancestors would then have been placed on the table top in a mark of respect to the deceased, believing that the living family would be blessed in return.
The table is made from elm wood, with the original dark finish now worn on the thick, deep grained top surface. More traces of the original lacquer can be seen on the apron below and on the thick, rounded legs, which are supported by double stretchers. The table top is made with a panel set within wide frames and the elm wood has aged to add a lovely depth and character to the grain.
At over two metres in length, the table would make a real statement as a large console.
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